May 25th 2011 07:30 am |
For a racing fan, there is nothing like a big race day. Even with the hand-wringing over this year’s “weak” 3-year-old crop, those in the house at Pimlico for Preakness 2011 had a memorable day, including this writer who had the opportunity to participate in Maryland’s biggest day of racing.
It was my first trip back to the Preakness since 2006, and this year I made it a point to take it all in. This included a few trips to the infield, watching races from the winner’s circle and the grandstand, hanging around the stakes barn as the Preakness runners made their way to the track, and having one of the best seats in the house to watch the Preakness.
I didn’t cash a single ticket all day, even though I nailed the trifecta in The Dixie at Hello Race Fans, but on a day like Saturday, losing money at the wagering windows is a small price to pay for the experience of witnessing a Triple Crown race live.
Say what you want about this year’s marketing for Preakness, the people at the Maryland Jockey Club put on a good show for racing and non-racing fans alike. While the music and marketing for the infield scene were of little interest to me, it’s easy to see the appeal for a certain segment of the population who are more familiar with the party scene than trifectas, racing forms, the Triple Crown.
Sixty bucks for music, a social scene, and a refillable mug of beer is a pretty good deal. It seems the large majority of the infield crowd cared little about watching or betting on racing. The infield isn’t designed for hardcore racing fans (I only saw a few monitors for watching the races) but that’s not who it’s for. If getting as many yahoos to party in the infield on Preakness day helps fund Maryland racing (which it does) then how can race fans complain about how they go about marketing it? I am definitely not the target market for Kegasus but (sadly) I get it, and with the increased attendance this year, something apparently clicked with that audience.
Kudos to the Maryland Jockey Club for pulling off what turned out to be a wildly successful Preakness Day.
Here are a handful of the many images I took at Pimlico on Saturday:
After the race it was reported that Paddy O’Prado was showing lameness soon after his win. It turns out he suffered a career ending injury and it was announced on Monday that will be retired to stud. Teresa at Brooklyn Backstretch put together an excellent tribute for one of my favorite horses in training.
I took some pictures of the infield but I think this one says it all: http://twitter.com/#!/ColinsGhost/status/72325769904390146
It was a great day at Pimlico. Back next week with more history…
Thanks for reading and good luck!